Yeti SB5c - first look

Aggressive trail bike with new Switch Infinity suspension

Yeti Cycles has just unveiled its latest creation: the SB5c. It's an aggressive trail bike with a novel suspension design called Switch Infinity - more on that below.

The SB5c features a full carbon frame with a claimed weight of 5.1lb / 2.3kg for the frame with the stock Fox Float CTD shock. This 27.5in-wheeled trail bike serves up 127mm of rear wheel travel with geometry designed around a 140mm fork.

The SB5c is currently available as a complete bike, with builds starting at US$6599. Yeti has no plans for a more affordable alloy version. In fact, Yeti envisions a future with a narrower product line and a focus on carbon

Frame details

The SB5c has geometry in line with Yeti’s general design philosophy of long top tubes, slack head angles, and low bottom brackets. The geometry sits between the SB66 and SB95 in terms of top tube lengths and head angles.

The cables are run externally, with the exception of a port for a stealth-routed dropper seatpost — a feature notably absent from Yeti's other frames. The SB5c uses a Press-Fit 30 bottom bracket shell and comes with a removable ISCG-05 chainguide mount.

A port for an internally-routed dropper is a welcome addition

The most striking feature of the new bike is the pair of gold tubes bolted to the frame in the space above the bottom bracket. While they may look like some sort of auxiliary shock system, these tubes are actually the heart of the new suspension design developed by Yeti in conjunction with Fox Racing Shox. The new design is known as Switch Infinity and it borrows heavily from several of Yeti’s past suspension efforts.

These Fox-branded components are part of the suspension, but maybe not in the manner you think

Switch Infinity explained

Switch Infinity combines Yeti’s Switch system, used on the popular SB66, SB95 and SB75 models, with linear rail technology borrowed from several of the company’s past gravity bikes, including the 303 DH

“Switch Infinity technology has been in development and testing for nearly three years.” said Yeti's president and co-owner Chris Conroy. “We worked closely with Fox to apply what we’ve learned from our linear rail and Switch technologies to produce a suspension platform that will work across a wide spectrum of terrain, disciplines, and riding styles.”

Yeti has experimented with rail technology on many of its gravity bikes for close a decade

The Switch system, first used on the SB66, allows the main pivot to change direction as the suspension moves through its travel

An early Switch Infinity prototype demonstrated that rail technology could be combined with the Switch concept

The goal was to create a suspension system that had a firm pedaling platform, excellent small bump sensitivity, and could absorb square-edged bumps with ease. Yeti was also in search of suspension design that was suitable for a wide range of travel lengths and applications. “One of the reasons it's called Infinity is that there are an infinite number of ways we can use it,” said Conroy.

The Kashima-coated tubes are manufactured for Yeti by Fox. The main pivot is connected to a forged aluminum body that slides up and down these tubes — approximately 3mm in either direction. These tubes define the wheel path and shock rate.

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During the initial portion of the stroke the main pivot moves upward, which moves the wheel rewardward, increasing anti-squat to provide a firm pedaling platform. As with the eccentric Switch system, there is an “inflection point” where Switch Infinity changes direction. As the suspension moves further into its stroke the main pivot changes direction, moving downwards, reducing anti-squat and allowing the suspension to be more active.

Switch on the left, Switch Infinity on the right

Yeti claims the system should require less maintenance than the current Switch system. There are grease ports on the slider, though Yeti states the company hasn’t need to re-lube any of their test mules, despite more than a year of testing. Additionally, Switch Infinity is said to shave approximately 100g from the eccentric design.

More in store?

Any visitor to Yeti’s website can make note of the glaring holes in the company’s current product line — Yeti lacks a 27.5in enduro bike, as well as a full suspension cross-country model. The company stated that it is possible we may see developments on both of these fronts later this summer, so stay tuned.

Be sure to check back to BikeRadar for our first ride review.

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